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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Live - Premier League



Birmingham 0-1 Manchester United
Chelsea 0-0 Fulham
Derby 1-1 Bolton
Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle
Portsmouth 7-4 Reading
Sunderland 1-2 Blackburn
West Ham 0-1 Arsenal
Wigan 0-1 Liverpool

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

By Charlie Henderson

Player of the Day: It has been a fine day of football and Benjani Mwaruwari wins your vote as the afternoon's star man following his hat-trick in that remarkable game at Fratton Park between Portsmouth and Reading. The 11 goals are a record for a Premier League game and that will be the first match on Match of the Day tonight. The only down side has been a lack of baby news from Bookem in Portsmouth, but safe to say Benjani Bookem has a nice ring to it!

1910: Later on in the evening Match of the Day will hit your screens at 2225 BST. As well as eating bread and butter pudding, watching MOTD is one of the things Thierry Henry misses most having moved to Barcelona.

1909: The football's over and the chat starts straight away on BBC Radio 5live with Alan Green hosting 606. If you want to discuss all things football call him on 0500 909 693 or text 85058, but get to the point quick. They are only on air until 1950 BST and ditherers need not apply. You can also listen via the BBC Sport website and get involved by using your keyboard.

1908: FULL-TIME Birmingham 0-1 Manchester United
The Blues had the better of the first 45, but United take the points after doing enough in the second half and go back into second spot in the table.

"Good win against a very hard-working Birmingham team. They battled ever so well. I'm happy that we are not conceding. It's really promising. All we need is for our forwards to gel and we will be fine."
andrewt15381 on 606

1907: One last chance for Birmingham, but Tomasz Kuszczak easily saves Garry O'Connors effort after some jinking play on the edge of the box.

1906: Manchester United eat up a bit of time down at the corner flag after taking their time over taking a corner. Steve Bruce is giving it the old Fergie routine and looking at his watch.

1905: There will be three minutes of added time.

1904: Into the final minute of normal time and John O'Shea replaces Carlos Tevez to help shore things up for the visitors.

1903: Portsmouth and Blackburn are up to fifth and sixth whith Chelsea, who were top of the table four games ago, down to seventh. They are seven points off top spot.

1902: So if Manchester United hold on to this advantage it will be as you were at the top of the table with Arsenal, United, Manchester City and Liverpool all winning.

1901: A late yellow card for Sebastian Larsson as his frustration boils over after being muscled off the ball by Patrice Evra and lunging in on the Frenchman.

1900: Wayne Rooney's the deepest man in defence for United and hooks a Gary McSheffrey cross away from the left-back area.

"When are United going blow a team away like they were doing last season?"
Joey Le C 81

1857: Goals are the order of the day for Birmingham so Steve Bruce goes for broke, throwing on Garry O'Connor for Mehdi Nafti.

1855: Inside the last 10 minutes now.

1853: Wayne Rooney tees Cristiano Ronaldo in the box up this time. The latter drags a left-footed effort wide of the target.

1851: Cristiano Ronaldo collects the ball on the right and rolls a pass into the box for Carlos Tevez who shins an effort high and wide. There was a bobble.

1848: Birmingham are still pushing but seem to have lost a bit of their threat. A defensive change for the hosts as Johan Djourou, who has been nursing his shoulder for a while, is replaced by Rafael Schmitz.

1844: Wilson Palacios replaces Fabrice Muamba for Birmingham. The Honduran is called "The Magician" back home and he'll have to pull something from somewhere here for City.

1841: Stephen Kelly hooks a bobbling effort from Wayne Rooney off the line. Good work in the build up from Carlos Tevez on the right of the box.

1840: Manchester United are finally beginning to impose themselves on the game and exert some authority over proceedings. They're zipping the ball about. A tidy spell.

1838: A second change for United. Louis Saha replaces skipper Ryan Giggs. Rio Ferdinand gets the armband and Paul Scholes some words of advice from the Welshman as he goes off.

1837: A Gary McSheffrey free-kick whistles through the United box and just wide of the target. Great atmosphere and noise at St Andrews. Everyone of a blue persuasion thinks they can still get something from this.

1834: Mehdi Nafti clips Crisitano Ronaldo in full flight and is booked for his troubles.

1832: The Blues have responded well to going a goal down. No let up in their tempo, no heads going down.

1829: Top notch save from Tomasz Kuszczak this time. He flings out his right arm at the near post to push away a shot from Gary McSheffrey which took a wicked deflection of Rio Ferdinand.

1828: Tomasz Kuszczak makes an unconvincing save from Gary McSheffrey's cross-cum-shot but Cameron Jerome is the wrong side of the United keeper to make him pay as the ball bobbles momentarily free.

1826: That's a bit of a kick in the teeth for Birmingham and boss Steve Bruce, who has never beaten United as a manager.

1825: GOAL Birmingham 0-1 Manchester United
There's the breakthrough. Dozy from Franck Queudrue and quick as a flash Cristiano Ronaldo is in on the right before bearing down on Maik Taylor and clipping the ball beyond the City keeper's despairing dive.

1822: Birmingham's Johan Djourou keeps his eyes on the ball and not Carlos Tevez's devilishly fancy footwork in the box and times a tackle spot on to clear.

1820: An easy early touch for Tomasz Kuszczak as he claims a looping Cameron Jerome header.

1819: Edwin van der Sar doesn't come out for the second half. The Manchester United keeper has been replaced by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Player rater: Not many players are ranking above eight today. You presently have Nicolas Anelka in top spot, just ahead of Benjani Mwaruwari. Robin van Persie, Martin Petrov and Cristiano Ronaldo are also in the running. Andriy Shevchenko's not. A mark of 4.88 isn't much of a birthday present! Feel free to get clicking and give your verdict.

"You just know that Man U are gonna get the victory after Birmingham somehow managed not to score in the 1st half. I pray I'm wrong."
Gunner84 on 606

1806: There's a shard of light spearing across the St Andrews turf as the sun sets over Birmingham and Manchester United's reserve keeper Tomasz Kuszczak is out there warming up after Edwin van der Sar hobbles off.

1804: HALF-TIME Birmingham 0-0 Manchester United
The Blues are the better side.

1802: A bursting run into the box by Franch Queudrue, but after playing the ball around Rio Ferdinand he can't keep it in play. Hats off to the Frenchman. Many others would have gone down there.

1759: Edwin van der Sar is not taking the Manchester United goalkicks as he nurses that ankle problem.

1756: Running order on tonight's Match of the Day - as things stands. Portsmouth v Reading, West Ham v Arsenal, Chelsea v Fulham, Manchester City v Newcastle, Birmingham v Manchester United, Wigan v Liverpool, Sunderland v Blackburn & Derby v Bolton.

1753: News just in that John Terry is set for an operation tonight after suffering a depressed fracture of his cheekbone in that challenge with Fulham's Clint Dempsey. That's depressing alright for Chelsea and England fans.

1750: Another lengthy delay at St Andrews as Gary McSheffrey comes off second best with Wes Brown, who lands on top of the Blues striker. Like Edwin van der Sar earlier, he's eventually OK.

1747: Carlos Tevez breaks to the edge of the Birmingham box, ships the ball on to Wayne Rooney who in turn finds Ryan Giggs on the right. His chipped effort on goal is blocked.

"I suppose the best match days creep up on you. We were incredibly lucky to have a footballing day like today."
jpalongo on 606
Good of you to front up after criticising the day early doors.

1741: MATCH REACTION Derby 1-1 Bolton
Sammy Lee is upbeat despite missing out on a chance to claim a rare three points. "With a bit more luck we'd have won, but prior we'd have accepted a point, Derby are fighting hard too," he says. Billy Davies is the complete opposite of the magnanimous Lee: "We probably deserved to win it overall. We controlled the first half, started better in the second half, had some good chances."

1740: MATCH REACTION Wigan 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says his side were "not bad" but "not really, really good". He flat bats questions on rotation, is happy doing things his way and concedes his team need to learn to kill off opponents. Wigan boss Chris Hutchings is still struggling to comprehend how Julius Aghahowa missed with a late headed effort: "It's three yards out and it has cost us dearly."

1739: Worse for Manchester United. Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has turned his left ankle. He's receiving lengthy treatment. The Dutchman's good to carry on after a tentative walk around his area.

1738: Better from Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo's stinging shot is saved at his near post by Maik Taylor.

1736: MATCH REACTION Portsmouth 7-4 Reading
Royals keeper Marcus Hahnemann is philisophical after picking the ball out of the back of the net. "I tend to analyse every goal but I think I need to let that game go because it will be too hard to take. It's the life of a goalkeeper."

1734: Birmingham are asking serious questions of United here and Gary McSheffrey wins a corner on the left for the hosts.

1733: Rio Ferdinand clears a Gary McSheffrey header off the United line. McSheffrey hasn't scored for 20 league matches. You don't get much closer than that.

1731: A forceful, direct run from Cristiano Ronaldo who slips a pass to the overlapping Wes Brown. His cross is half-cleared and Ryan Giggs can't hit the target.

1729: MATCH REACTION Chelsea 0-0 Fulham
Lawrie Sanchez is chuffed to keep a clean sheet for the first time this season but is still "disapppointed that we didn't get three points." Avram Grant may not look like a happy-go-lucky bloke, but he's talking up the positives. Are there any? "The record is okay," he says. "We created enough chances, but we didn't score unfortunately. We can play better.
"He is not going to tickle any of those players - he is uncharismatic, dull and uninspiring."
Garth Crooks, BBC Score pundit

"Two league games for Avram Grant and he has two red cards already!"
simplywalata on 606

"On my way home from Chelsea. That's one goal in the last three games at the Bridge. The team were shocking, the Chelsea fans silent, Fulham fans were excellent, I'm depressed."
Peter, from Acton, via text on 81111

1723: Sir Alex Ferguson has asked for more protection from referees towards Cristiano Ronaldo and Steve Bennett obliges, booking Franck Queudrue for a challenge on the United man as they jumped for a header.

1718: MATCH REACTION West Ham 0-1 Arsenal
Same old stuff from Arsene Wenger. He applauds the belief and hunger in his side, but changes the tense on their maturity. "We have matured," he declares.

"I will stick my neck out and predict that Arsenal will win the Premier League. There is no shortage of skills, the hunger."
Mayobo on 606
Are you Arsene Wenger in disguise?

1717: Shoddy play from Paul Scholes who wastes possession and an early chance for Birmingham. Edwin van der Sar tips Cameron Jerome's shot wide and the Dutchman is then forced into a low save from Franck Queudrue's header at the corner.

1715: The preening, brylcreemed Cristiano Ronaldo has an air of menace in his eyes as the game starts between Birmingham and Manchester United. If you want to check out the changing image of footballers compare the Portuguese to Blues boss Steve Bruce. There's a hard-nosed old-school battler, well, a broken-nosed old-school battler at least.

1712: No rest around here. Birmingham and Manchester United come out at St Andrews.

1703: TEAM NEWS Birmingham v Manchester United
Birmingham are without on-loan midfield man Borja Oubina, who has been ruled out for six months with a knee injury. Fabrice Muamba returns to the side, with Wilson Palacios dropping down to the bench from the side that drew at Liverpool. Gary McSheffrey also starts. Manchester United are back to strength after their shadow squad lost at home to Coventry in midweek. Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez are paired up front again, with Louis Saha on the bench.

1659: FULL-TIME West Ham 0-1 Arsenal
The Gunners stay on top of the Premier League.

1658: Premier League leaders Arsenal dawdle over a free-kick and eat up as much time as they can against battling West Ham, who deserve something from the afternoon.

1657: So, just the one game still going - West Ham against Arsenal.

1656: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 7-4 Reading
And there was a missed penalty.
"Sounds like a playground score!" john blaze on 606

1655: GOAL Portsmouth 7-4 Reading What! Shane Long's cross from the right goes through the box to Nickey Shorey who rifles in a low angled shot that deflects off Sol Campbell and beyond a furious David James.

1654: FULL-TIME Sunderland 1-2 Blackburn
The Black Cats are the specialists of the late goal - but today's effort was simply a consolation and not a salvage strike.

1653: GOAL Portsmouth 7-3 Reading Sulley Muntari lifts a penalty into the roof of the net to make it seven for Pompey after Niko Kranjcar was pulled down in the box.

1652: FULL-TIME Chelsea 0-0 Fulham Boos.
"Chelsea have lost a great leader in Jose Mourinho. I have fears for them."
Gavin Peacock, BBC Score pundit

1651: FULL-TIME Wigan 0-1 Liverpool
That makes it seven hours and 58 minutes since Liverpool last conceded in the league. They close to within a point of Arsenal... for the time being.

1651: FULL-TIME Derby 1-1 Bolton
Not what either team would want.

1650: Julius Agahowa misses a gilt-edged chance to square things up for Wigan against Liverpool. A weak header wide.

1649: GOAL Sunderland 1-2 Blackburn
Grant Leadbitter drills in a shot from outside the box. The Black Cats have picked up five of their eight points in added time so Rovers be warned.

1648: So, so close for Fulham. Diomansy Kamara shrugs off the attentions of a Claude Makelele in defence with Alex playing in attack. He drills an effort wide of the far post.

1647: Robin van Persie stabs a downward Dean Ashton header clear from a West Ham corner.

1646: Maybe Arsenal want the security of a second instead. Mathieu Flamini fires a fizzing effort low past the post after some trypically intricate play.

1645: Arsenal are forced into a change as Emmanuel Adebayor hobbles off with Gilberto Silva coming on. The Gunners will be happy to shut up shop here.

1644: Stamford Bridge is singing just one song: "Come back Mourinho".

1643: Poor play from Chelsea substitute Alex and Paul Konchesky is through on the left, but a spread-eagled Petr Cech saves. Straight up the other end and Joe Cole spoons a volley high over the Fulham goal.

1641: GOAL Portsmouth 6-3 Reading
It's a rugby score. Sean Davis cracks an effort in from distance which glances off the head of Ivar Ingimarsson and beyond the wrong-footed Marcus Hahnemann.

1639: GOAL Portsmouth 5-3 Reading
Is this the start of another Reading comeback? James Harper drives the ball back into the box from a Pompey headed clearance and the ball is deflected beyond David James off substitute Shane Long. That was his first touch!

1638: Fernando Torres is through on goal for Liverpool, but Titus Bramble recovers to help out Chris Kirkland and keep the score to 1-0.

1637: Robert Green saves well to deny Gael Clichy and comfortably claims the resulting corner.

1636: GOAL Portsmouth 5-2 Reading
Fratton Park is the place to be for goals today and Portsmouth are embarrassing Reading. Another fluff from Brynjar Gunnarsson allows Sean Davis to chip a cross to the far post where Niko Kranjcar bundles home.

1635: Christian Wilhelmsson cuts in from the left and sees his effort saved, Nicolas Anelka shoots on to the bar and Kevin Nolan has an effort cleared off the line. What do Bolton have to do to score?

1634: Trouble in the stands at the JJB Stadium which is sold out. Are Liverpool fans in Wigan sections? More on that as and when.

1633: GOAL Wigan 0-1 Liverpool
Yossi Benayoun latches on to Jermaine Pennant's throughball. His first touch creates the space, the second takes it past the defender and the third is the goal. Sweet.

1633: RED CARD Chelsea
Didier Drogba, who had taken over the captain's armband, passes it on to Joe Cole after receiving his second booking. He raised his foot and his boot caught Chris Baird in the face. Drogba protests and to be fair a red seems harsh for an accidental collision, however ugly.

1632: GOAL Portsmouth 4-2 Reading
Pompey surely won't let a two-goal lead slip for a second time. Sulley Muntari steals the ball from Brynjar Gunnarson in midfield and releases Benjani who races clear to score his hat-trick goal.

1630: Dean Ashton is playing exceptionally well. He fires an effort just wide. West Ham are pushing for an equaliser against Arsenal and playing the better in the second half.

1627: Chelsea's Joe Cole prods an effort past Kasey Keller... and the foot of the Fulham post.

1626: PENALTY SAVE Portsmouth
David James makes amends for that earlier error which gifted Reading a goal as he saves Nicky Shorey's penalty after Pape Bouba Diop handled in the box. Shorey's never taken a spot-kick for the Royals before. He probably won't be taking any more after that.

1624: Nothing for it at Sunderland but to throw on more strikers. Daryl Murphy, David Connolly and Roy O'Donovan are all on as they look to come back from two down against Rovers.

1623: There is a goal... but it doesn't count. Freddie Ljungberg has the ball in the net but West Ham's former Gunner was offside. Upton Park's delight is shortlived. Former referee and one of today's BBC Score pundits Graham Poll calls it "an absolutely superb decision."

1622: Great chance for West Ham but Dean Ashton heads straight at Manuel Almunia. Steven Gerrard fires narrowly wide for Liverpool. You sense more goals are coming somewhere soon.

1620: Derby's highly-rated youngster Giles Barnes is on for his first taste of Premier League action. Andriy Shevchenko was highly-rated once, but he's been dragged off for Chelsea.

1619: Robert Green tips a Robin van Persie shot on to the West Ham woodwork. Neat footwork from the Dutchman and a good fingertip save.

1618: Paul Scharner chips past an onrushing Pepe Reina. Unfortunately for the Wigan midfielder, the ball also evades the keeper's left-hand post and goes out for a goalkick.

1617: GOAL Portsmouth 3-2 Reading
Hermann Hreidarsson climbs well and meets Sylvain Distin's cross ahead of Marcus Hahnemann to head Pompey back into the lead.

1615: David Bentley dances through a couple of defenders on the edge of the Rovers box but his clipped effort is blocked by Sunderland's Craig Gordon.

1614: Dirk Kuyt almost breaks the deadlock at the JJB Stadium, but Kevin Kilbane is in the right place at the right time to block.

1613: GOAL Sunderland 0-2 Blackburn
A poor backpass from Danny Higginbotham gifts Rovers a quickfire second. Brett Emerton tees up Roque Santa Cruz for a firm finish - and one of the easiest he'll ever have.

1612: GOAL Sunderland 0-1 Blackburn
The Sunderland defence stands off Roque Santa Cruz and when his shot is blocked David Bentley is on hand to fire in.

1610: GOAL Portsmouth 2-2 Reading
A goalkeeping howler from David James who comes racing out of his box on the right to cut out a long ball forward. He doesn't and Dave Kitson fires in from an acute angle with a cool finish.
"Heck of a finish from Kitson. If the keeper goes out, he has to take that ball. There was no danger."
Gavin Peacock, BBC Score pundit

1608: Marcus Bent is denied a goal by the linesman's flag. The Wigan striker was onside, but Julius Agahowa is pinged for offside despite not interfering with play.

1607: Portsmouth and Reading are back up and running, but no sign of West Ham or Arsenal yet. A mixed-gender dance troupe are still out on the Upton Park pitch.

1606: Jussi Jaaskelainen denies Derby striker Kenny Miller. Fierce drive. Fine save.

1605: Better from Chelsea. Joe Cole whips a low cross into the box and Kasey Keller smothers a fumbled shot from Salomon Kalou on to his right stick.

1603: They were the first to go in for the interval so it makes sense that Derby and Bolton are the first back out and the first to resume.

1602: Problems keep coming for Chelsea - who were booed off at the break. John Terry doesn't come back out because of a fractured cheekbone, so problems for England as well. Alex is the skipper's replacement.

1558: A one-word verdict from our team of reporters.

  • Chelsea 0-0 Fulham - Lifeless
  • Derby 1-1 Bolton - Bargain-basement
  • Portsmouth 2-1 Reading - One-sided
  • Sunderland 0-0 Blackburn - Mediocre
  • West Ham 0-1 Arsenal - Disjointed
  • Wigan 0-0 Liverpool - Liverpool
    Remember, you can read about an extra 400-words from those same scribes on the whistle.

    "People saying Chelsea could finish around 10th don't know what they're talking about. Top 4 guaranteed, they get a new manager in sharpish they could still win the title. Arsenal won't be able to keep up their form, Liverpool will never win the title with rotational Rafa in charge and Utd have hardly been setting the world alight."
    billymcvilla on 606

    1554: Robin in London says Portsmouth's two-goal striker Benjani can't be the new Didier Drogba as Emmanuel Adebayor claimed that title last weekend. James H thinks Avram Grant is Boos Nass from 'Phantom Menace', Ady picks him as a fat Larry Grayson and Matt thinks he's a dead ringer for the Sheriff of Nottingham in Disney's version of Robin Hood. Drop us a text to 81111 on football matters and jump into the keyboard chaos over on 606...

    1552: Stoppage time still going on at Upton Park, and West Ham are now on the attack forcing a defensive header in the six-yard box from Bacary Sagna. That's the last meaningful action.

    1550: Only one game still out there, and West Ham see out the first half in defence, Matthew Upson heading a corner away to Emmanuel Adebayor, who cracks the dropping ball wide.

    1548: GOAL Portsmouth 2-1 Reading
    Good job for the Royals they haven't gone in yet as Liam Rosenior gives them a lifeline. He spins in the box and hooks a shot on to the bar which spins down over the line. Stephen Hunt followed it up with a header in a melee of players to make sure, but that's Rosenior's first goal for the club.

    1546: HALF-TIME
    Derby and Bolton are the first teams to head for the break.

    1544: Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann pulls off a magnificent point-blank save to deny Glen Johnson, who had swooped to meet Benjani's knock-down in the six-yard box.

    1540: Sunderland want a penalty as Brad Friedel comes racing out to take the ball away from Michael Chopra. Panic in the Rovers box from the corner but the visitors hold firm.

    1539: GOAL Portsmouth 2-0 Reading
    Benjani caps a snaking run to the edge of the box with a low drive past the wrong-footed Marcus Hahnemann.
    "Mark my words... Benjani will be the next Drogba."
    Dan, in Portsmouth, via text on 81111
    "Portmouth are flying. Reading are chasing shadows."
    Garth Crooks, BBC Score pundit

    1537: Things could get spikey at Upton Park. Cesc Fabregas is hunting out Mark Noble, but it is Mathieu Flamini who catches Scott Parker.

    1535: Didier Drogba throws himself at a low cross by the back post but is an inch short of making contact.

    1534: An early Arsenal change after a nasty challenge from Mark Noble on Alexander Hleb. Kolo Toure isn't too happy about the 'tackle', which earns a booking. Emmanuel Eboue comes on.

    1533: Salomon Kalou finds Andriy Shevchenko in the box, but the Ukranian can't find the back of the net. It's the side netting instead.

    1531: GOAL Derby 1-1 Bolton
    Nicolas Anelka works some space for himself on the edge of the area and his right-footed shot beats Stephen Bywater with the help of a deflection off Dean Leacock.

    1530: Fernando Torres meets a Fabio Aurelio cross with an acrobatic overhead shot which goes wide. He had time to do something a bit better and less spectacular with it.

    1528: Dirk Kuyt finds Fernando Torres with a throughball after sloppy play by Jason Koumas. The Spaniard holds off two Wigan defenders but his initial shot is blocked by Chris Kirkland. The ball rebounds to Torres and bounces off him, bobbling wide of the goal.

    1527: Subdued atmosphere at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea struggle to find their A-game. The crowd have even stopped chanting Jose Mourinho's name.

    1524: Shouts for a Fulham penalty after Tal Ben Haim heads the ball on to his own hand. Lucky let-off for the Blues.

    1523: Derby boss Billy Davies sure knows how to wind up referees. The Scot is having a running argument with officials and gets a warning from the ref. He's the sort of man who would argue with his own shadow.

    1522: The ball's worked to John Arne Riise in the box and his snap shot is wide. Liverpool are enjoying more of the possession but are being made to work by a resolute Wigan.

    1519: GOAL Derby 1-0 Bolton
    Steve Howard holds the ball up on the left before swivelling to hook a low pass into the box and Kenny Miller sweeps the ball beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen. Problems for Sammy Lee. When Miller scores, County win. OK, that's only his second but these sort of amazing feats have to start somewhere.

    "The writing is on the wall for Little Sam if they lose this one."
    john blaze on 606

    1517: A fast and furious start to proceedings, which is more than can be said of the action between Sunderland and Blackburn. Flat and feeble more like.

    1515: GOAL West Ham 0-1 Arsenal
    A headed goal for Arsenal. Alexander Hleb swings a cross in from the right and Robin van Persie does well to meet it ahead of the home defence. Robert Green gets a hand to the Dutchman's downward header, but he can't keep the ball out.

    1514: Clint Dempsey heads narrowly wide for Fulham against Chelsea. Remember, the Cottagers haven't won at Stamford Bridge since 1979.

    1513: Derby's David Jones is keen on an early bath. He's already been booked for a two-footed lunge on Gary Speed but that has not checked his brio, which is bordering on reckless.

    1512: Chants of 'Deano, Deano' at Upton Park where Dean Ashton is bang on top of his game. That's good for England with strikers dropping like flies.

    1510: REACTION Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle
    Smooth dresser Sven-Goran Eriksson is satisfied with City's style. "Yep, very good," says the Swede. "I hope that we can be better and better. For today I am very happy. We should have scored earlier, but that is football."

    1509: GOAL Portsmouth 1-0 Reading
    Benjani slips a pass to John Utaka on the left, races forward and is on hand to volley in his third Premier League goal of the season at the back post when the return cross comes in.

    1508: An absolutely supersonic start at Upton Park. Chances at both ends and but for a linesman's flag West Ham's Dean Ashton would have been through one-on-one from halfway with Manuel Almunia.

    1507: Wonderful play from Dean Ashton, who releases Freddie Ljungberg with a sublime backheel on the edge of the box. Manuel Almunia saves after a heavy first touch from the Swede.

    1505: Neat stuff from Reading, but Stephen Hunt spoons a shot over the Pompey bar from the left. The Royals are wearing black and silver stripes. Style guru Gavin 'Jeff Banks' Peacock describes it as "shocking".

    1504: Arsenal go close with their first attack, Emmanuel Adebayor firing narrowly wide.

    1502: Clint Dempsey catches John Terry as they jump under a high ball on the edge of the box. The Blues skipper looks dazed.

    1501: Steven Gerrard lines one up like Elano, but can't finish like the Brazilian. The Liverpool skipper stings the palms of former Red with a 30-yard free-kick.

    1500: The lookalikes end and the action begins.

    1459: Bookem's back. No sign of a baby yet and he comes in with another lookalike for Avram Grant - Johnny Sack who's the mafia boss from the 'Sopranos'. There's also an anonymous shout that Grant is actually Lord Voldemort.

    "I'm really looking forward to West Ham v Arsenal - Arsenal are just playing football from another planet at the moment."
    Gavin Peacock, BBC Score pundit

    1455: Players start emerging around the grounds and at Chelsea it's a 'Happy Birthday' for Andriy Shevchenko. Not sure the 31-year-old would have got the present of a start under the previous boss.

    1453: So all the team news is in. For a re-cap and for dedicated coverage of your chosen game click your way through via the specific link.

    1449: Plenty of banners and T-shirts at Stamford Bridge thanking Jose Mourinho for his time at Chelsea.

    1444: Chelsea assistant Steve Clarke is at the heart of their huddle. No sign of Avram Grant, who Ian Holloway reckons looks like Toad from 'Toad of Toad Hall'. Andy from Manchester reckons the new Chelsea man resembles Boris Karloff in 'The Mummy'.

    1442: Arsenal break off from their warm-up for an extended team huddle in which each player takes a turn to gee up up his team-mates.

    1440: The score from the early game is greeted well by those who have turned up at the Stadium of Light early ahead of Sunderland's match against Blackburn.

    1439: FULL-TIME Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle
    City go second on goal difference after coming back from a goal behind.
    "Not bad for a team put together by watching videos. Sven is a legend! YouTube City are playing good football, have a strong squad and will finish in the top six."
    Cold War Kid on 606

    "It's a completely different City side under Eriksson. There you've got a team that are going places."
    Garth Crooks, BBC Score pundit

    1436: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Reading
    Portsmouth are without Kanu, who failed a late fitness test on a knee injury, so Benjani Mwaruwari partners John Utaka up front. Dave Kitson passed a late fitness test to allow Reading to field the same side which beat Wigan last weekend, Kitson partnering Kevin Doyle up front as Leroy Lita has to make do with a place on the bench.

    1435: Jose Enrique's not slow in coming forward, and he's got some speed to boot as well. The Spaniard wins a corner, from which Alan Smith shoots wide.

    1433: TEAM NEWS Derby v Bolton
    Derby make two changes with Jay McEveley and David Jones both recalled. Andy Griffin and Gary Teale make way, while Giles Barnes returns to the bench. Bolton make nine changes to the side that played in the Carling Cup in midweek - but it is the XI that started against Spurs last week.

    1431: GOAL Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle
    There have been some good goals in this game but that is the best - an absolute crackerjack. Elano rifles a pearler of a free-kick from 30 yards into the top left corner. That's the game in the bag... and probably Match of the Day's Goal of the Month competition as well.

    1429: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Blackburn
    Sunderland make two changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Middlesbrough with Liam Miller and Nyron Nosworthy coming in. Blackburn also make two changes to the side that beat Birmingham in the Carling Cup in midweek with defender Stephen Warnock and Roque Santa Cruz starting. Robbie Savage and Morten Gamst Pedersen remain on the bench.

    1428: City are finishing this well on top. A chance for a third? Not when Emile Mpenza is pushed wide and his eventual shot is blocked wide. Didi Hamann latches on to the headed clearance from the corner but his shot is blocked.

    1426: A City cross whistles through the Newcastle box. When Stephen Ireland rifles the ball back in from the right, Emile Mpenza volleys wide.

    1424: Micah Richards gallops forward on the right to give Stephen Ireland an outlet from the centre circle. The defender steps inside and lines up a shot... which he completely and utterly fluffs. He's cream crackered after the run, but still breaks a smile at an abject effort on goal.

    1422: Nedum Onouha concedes a corner when he didn't need to, but Newcastle don't make much of the chance. In fact, they don't make anything of the chance.

    1420: Captain Geremi gets hauled off with Jose Enrique going on. It's pass the captain's armband time and it looks as if it's ended up with Steven Taylor.

    "If Newcastle loose this big Sam should make them all do the Great North Run. Apart from Martins they are rubbish."
    Brian via text on 81111

    1418: Sven-Goran Eriksson looks a little lost and glum on the bench. A bit like an uncle on the sidelines at a wedding. Strange since his team look set to go level on points with Arsenal if they can hold on to this advantage.

    1416: Joe Hart pushes a Geremi free-kick over the bar when he could have caught it. Unconvincing keepers at both ends. Could be more goals in this.

    1414: TEAM NEWS West Ham v Arsenal
    West Ham include former Gunners Freddie Ljungberg and Matthew Upson in their line-up and Scott Parker makes his first Premier League start, but Craig Bellamy is not fit to play. Arsenal's Alexander Hleb starts after passing a fitness test, Robin van Persie is recalled after missing the Calring Cup win over Newcastle, as is Emmanuel Adebayor.

    1411: Best bit of play in a long time from Newcastle. Mark Viduka rolls a pass across the box to Alan Smith who flicks it on to Obafemi Martins in space on the left. The Nigerian blasts a shot wide. He should have hit the target.

    1410: TEAM NEWS Wigan v Liverpool
    Fernando Torres, fresh from his hat-trick heroics in the Carling Cup against Reading, keeps his place up front, but Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez makes seven changes from the team that beat the Royals. Wigan recall striker Julius Aghahowa, who replaces the injured Antoine Sibierski, while Emmerson Boyce comes in for Andreas Granqvist, who is relegated to the subs' bench.

    1407: A sweeping City move ends with a high, looping volley from Stephen Ireland which Shay Given casually pushes on to his crossbar as he attempts to tip it over. Given, who has been decidedly short of his best today, grabs the ball at the second attempt ahead of Michael Johnson.

    1404: TEAM NEWS Chelsea v Fulham
    Didier Drogba is confirmed as a starter for Chelsea. He partners Andriy Shevchenko in attack after recovering from the knee injury he suffered against Aston Villa at the start of the month, while in midfield Steve Sidwell lines up alongside Claude Makelele, with Michael Essien ruled out with an injury. Seol Ki-Hyeon comes in for Hameur Bouazza in the only change from the Fulham side that lost in the Carling Cup to Bolton.

    1402: Vedran Corluka is not AOK. He trots off to be replaced by Nedum Onouha.

    1401: Everyone seems to stop as Shay Given lumps a long ball forward. His opposite number Joe Hart is alert to the danger and races out of his area to head clear.

    "Frantically searching for the match & I'm now sitting in a ladies only hairdressers in Istanbul watching it. Cmon City. The things u do."
    Gary, via text on 81111

    1359: Play resumes and Vedran Corluka looks AOK.

    1357: Applause all round for Obafemi Martins as the Nigerian stops playing after spotting Vedran Corluka down on the turf. The big man looks in a spot of bother and Martins walks the ball into touch and receives a pat on the back from Micah Ricards for his troubles.

    1355: City have come out really well in this second half. Martin Petrov - yes, him again - breaks on the left. It's not the best of crosses this time but Steven Taylor and David Rozenhal do their best to make a hash of it and gift Michael Johnson a chance.

    "Steven Taylor reckons he is worth 30k per week in his contract dispute with Sam. On this display I wouldn't give him 30 bob."
    Hadrian, in the toon, via text on 81111

    1352: GOAL Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle
    City may be a man down with Richard Dunne receiving treatment, but they're a goal up now. The excellent Martin Petrov races away down the left before clipping a delightful cross into the box which a stooping Emile Mpenza heads back across goal and in.

    1350: Richard Dunne and James Milner are down in a heap moments after the start of the second 45 after a clash of heads. Dunne's come off second best, but both will be OK to carry on.

    "Funnily enough, being the Arsenal fan I am, I'm sitting in work in the new Man United kit, with Vidic and the respective number on the back of it. My friends got it for me as a dare thinking I wouldn't wear it. They thought that so much that they put money on me not wearing it. I believe I'll be collecting 50 euro off my two mates tonight in the pub... hopefully relishing an Arsenal victory."
    gunner_rossmcd on 606

    Player rater: Obafemi Martins has a slight advantage and is your man of the half, with fellow scorer Martin Petrov and Micah Richards pushing hard for top honours.

    "Are Man City the new Arsenal? Some of their passing has been top notch. Elano and Petrov look different class compared to the dross Newcastle are serving up."
    Novelo on 606

    1333: HALF-TIME Manchester City 1-1 Newcastle
    The game is improving all the time, with fits and starts of real quality.

    1331: James Milner heads an Obafemi Martins cross back into the six-yard box but the first head to the ball is that of Richard Dunne who helps his keeper out. Joe Hart needs it today.

    1328: Do you think there's a special rate for managers who buy chewing gum by the box load? Both Sam Allardyce and watching England head coach Steve McClaren are chewing furiously. They should get sponsorship on their ties or suit lapels.

    "No, I don't think there's a special rate for managers who buy chewing gum by the box load."
    Pete, in Derry, via text on 81111
    "Pete, you're wrong! I give Martin O'neill 20% when he buys a big box."
    Scott, in Birmingham, via text on 81111

    1327: Stephen Ireland breaks and is one-on-one with Shay Given, who stays as big as he can until the last minute to block the raider's effort.

    1323: GOAL Manchester City 1-1 Newcastle
    There's the leveller. Elano releases Stephen Ireland on the right and his rolled pass across the box is met by Martin Petrov who comes in with the speed and venom of a heat-seeking missile to lash in.

    1321: This game is coming to life now. Martin Petrov's deflected shot from the left is parried by Shay Given and David Rozenhal prods the rebound behind.

    1317: Joe Hart makes a right old mess of a backpass on the left of his goal which comes off his boot and trickles towards the goal. The keeper clears it off the line... just. Lucky. Kasper Schmeichel will probably be back inbetween the sticks next time out.

    1315: GOAL Manchester City 0-1 Newcastle
    Out of nothing a goal. And a great one at that. Geremi lofts a pass over the top which Obafemi Martins, who has bisected Micah Richards and Richard Dunne, controls with his left foot before dinking the ball past the on-rushing Joe Hart with his right. That's the first goal City have conceded at home this term.

    1312: A neat backheel from Mark Viduka frees James Milner, but his shot on goal is terribly weak and easily saved.

    1311: Stephen Ireland's cross from the right clips the bar.

    "Can't see why Sven is playing Mpenza ahead of Bianchi, who is a far superior player. There is more to come from City, once Bojinov is fit he and Bianchi could be deadly."
    moggydave1 on 606
    Good counter from Hogcity on 606. Rolando Bianchi's injured. The next striker on the rank is Georgios Samaras.

    1308: The grass really is nice... which is more than can be said of the football being played on it.

    1304: A turn of pace from James Milner on the right as he nutmegs Javier Garrido en route to the byeline, but his pull back is cleared by Micah Richards.

    1301: Manchester City striker Emile Mpenza pounces on a poor defensive header from Steven Teyalor but meekly prods the loose ball at Shay Given.

    Player rater: If the groundsmen were listed you could give them 10 out of 10, but as it is you can only rate the players out in the middle. Get involved if the mood takes you at any stage of the match.

    1257: Neat passing move from City and a brilliant save from Shay Given denies Martin Petrov's volleyed drive from the edge of the box. Up until that the best bit of the match had been the cut of the grass. Diagonal lines and lighter green diamond shapes. Easy on the eye and top marks to the groundsmen.

    1252: Obafemi Martins breaks on the left and drives a cross into the box. Looks like Alan Smith, who has had the clippers out, was caught on his heels there as he fails to get on the end of it.

    1251: The returning Shay Given is clearly a little rusty. He takes his time over clearing a backpass and Emile Mpenza blocks the clearance. Heart in mouth time for the travelling fans... and Given, but the Magpies clear.

    1250: If you're heading off to any games today - or maternity wards - don't forget to drop us a line on 81111.

    1249: A really quiet start at Eastlands is livened up by another message from Bookem. His wife hasn't given birth yet but Nwankwo tops the list for potential names. "The wife will be too out of it on her gas and air to argue" he tells us by text on 81111. Good wishes are flooding in for Mrs Bookem as well.

    1246: They're up and running at Eastlands.

    1243: Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce takes a slug from a bottle of water - not an actual slug, a gulp - as he settles into his seat high in the stands. Sven-Goran Eriksson is on the bench.

    1241: The sun is shining, the weather is sweet, it makes you want to move those football feet and that is exactly what the Manchester City and Newcastle teams do, emerging from the tunnel.

    "Man City to earn a hard fought 1-0 victory over Newcastle to go 2nd for at least a few hours. Micah Richards to get the winner."
    Lokaka90 on 606

    1234: The players have left the Eastlands arena and the stands are slowly filling up with Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' coming over the PA system. Nice. Football's nearly here.

    1232: BBC commentator John Motson has had "a little chat" with John Terry, who told Motty he had nothing to do with Jose Mourinho's departure. In the match progamme skipper Terry has threatened to take legal action in response to reports he helped ease Mourinho out the door.

    1230: So which three o'clock game haven't we touched on. Oh yeah, Sunderland v Blackburn. What Roy Keane would do for a young Nialll Quinn in attack. The Black Cats last beat Rovers at home in 2001 with a goal from the present chairman.

    1226: Liverpool haven't conceded a league goal in six hours and 28 minutes. At the other end they've gone 192 minutes without scoring. That's three hours and 12 minutes. BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce is tipping Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt to start in attack.

    "It is a media-based misconception that the majority of Liverpool fans are frustrated with the squad rotation. We trust the manager."
    Anonymous, via text on 81111
    "Rafael Benitez has either been kidnapped by Manchester United or Chelsea fans and brainwashed or is simply stupid. Stop wrapping these players in cotton wool. They're supposed to play as many games as possible."
    jpalongo on 606

    1225: No crackerjack draws in the Carling Cup fourth-round draw, but talking of Liverpool, former Red Robbie Fowler will be returning to Anfield with new side Cardiff.

    1223: Just up the road from Manchester, Wigan are hosting Liverpool. The Latics, who have not won any of their last five games, have never beaten the Reds.

    1219: Sven-Goran Eriksson is looking dapper on the touchline at Eastlands as he keeps an eye on his Manchester City team warming up. Nice weather in Manchester by the looks of it.

    1211: Didier Drogba looks set to return for Chelsea and is strolling around Stamford Bridge with his headphones on. Fulham last won at Chelsea in 1979. Jose Mourinho never lost a home league game and this promises to be a wake for the 'Special One' as it's the club's first home game since he went, or was 'evicted' as Drogba calls it.

    "Could this possibly be the most boring match day of the season so far?"
    jpalongo on 606
    No. It's better than Everton against Middlesbrough tomorrow and have you seen next Saturday's line-up? Just two games! Aston Villa v West Ham and Manchester United v Wigan.

    1203: TEAM NEWS Manchester City v Newcastle
    Kasper Schmeichel has been dropped and Joe Hart gets a start in the City goal. A change between the sticks for the visitors as well with Shay Given replacing Steve Harper. Steven Taylor and Obafemi Martins play.

    1200: Sport on Five is up and running on BBC Radio 5live. Mark Pougatch is at Stamford Bridge and you can tune in on 693 or 909 MW.

    1156: It is 10 years and two days since Reading last won at Fratton Park, and considering their respective form - Pompey have yet to lose at home and the Royals have yet to win away - you've got to think Bookem, his wife and Junior Bookem will oversee a home win from afar. Any names in the melting pot or are you going with the first scorer? Sulley, Sol or Nwankwo?

    1155: A great little tale reaches us from Portsmouth, who are playing Reading today. Over to you Bookem...
    "The missus is due to go into labour today so can't go to Fratton Park, how inconvenient. But the hospital is almost next to the ground and has a delivery room overlooking it! Gonna feed her a curry to try and get her in for kick-off!
    Bookem, via text on 81111
    You old romantic. Lamb bhuna for breakfast was it? Keep us updated. Would love to break news of a birth today.

    1151: So what of the other games today? West Ham and Arsenal are getting some real heat on 606...
    "West Ham will beat Arsenal for the pure reason they know and believe they can beat them."
    dirk-kuyt18 on 606
    "When will people stop predicting the demise of Arsenal? if we win today people have got to start taking the Gunners seriously."
    Gael force on 606

    1145: And just 15 minutes until Sport on Five starts on BBC Radio 5live with Mark Pougatch. Mike Ingham and Alan Green are at Eastlands with Jan Molby for that Manchester City v Newcastle game. John Murray and Steve Claridge will be keeping across West Ham and Arsenal from three. And the two Ians - Brown and Dennis - will be commentating on Birmingham and Manchester United from 1715, with Graham Taylor in the summariser's seat.

    1140: Half an hour until Football Focus on BBC One. Steven Gerrard's the headline act on that today.

    1136: Fatboyjohnmulhern predicts a 0-0 draw, but since Newcastle have failed to keep a clean sheet in their 16 games away from home since last playing City is that really realistic? City have scored in every home game this season. In fact, all their home games have ended 1-0. Consistent City. Who would have thought it?

    "Never be 0-0 with the Magpies - either defence is gonna give and Martins for a hat-trick."
    Gavyn, in Wales, via text
    Persistent is that Gavyn as he clock watches at work before heading off to watch the game. Told you he liked Obafemi Martins.

    1134: Some early predictions coming in for Manchester City against Newcastle. While Lawro reckons it will be a 1-1 draw, Gavyn and blacknwhitegeps are tipping Newcastle all the way, with James Milner and Obafemi Martins having storming games.

    "I'm guessing that Arsenal will keep their spot at the top while Birmingham will put up a fight against Man Utd but will succumb under all the pressure."
    sunillcfcp on 606
    "West Ham to beat Arsenal. We are their bogey team."
    spuffman on 606
    Good point succintly made. The Hammers did the double over the Gunners last season and have won that fixture at the last three times of asking. BBC pundit and pinsticker Mark Lawrenson reckons they will make it four today.

    1124: Last but by no means least is the late game between Birmingham and Manchester United. City haven't won that fixture in the last 19 attempts so it seems pretty clear what will happen... although we said that about Coventry in midweek as well.

    1122: But the joker in the pack could come at Pride Park where Derby host Bolton - 20th v 19th in the Premier League. County's abject displays on the road are one thing, but lose this and they really will be struggling this season. If Wanderers lose boss Sammy Lee could be for the chop. High stakes indeed.

    1121: Three o'clock is the time for those with big hands to fan out the deck as there are six games starting and three of them involve three of the 'big four' - Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. That's doesn't often happen. Clearly one of those weekends where the TV men give a patronising pat on the back to lesser clubs to fulfil their quota system of dishing out games.

    1118: So what is on the cards today? The first in your hand features Manchester City against Newcastle at 1245 BST. City can go level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table, while the Magpies can leapfrog their hosts and go second with a win.

    1115: Who's going to a game today and which one is it?

    1113: These things start earlier and earlier and with a full football match's worth of time before a football match starts you are vital to proceedings. Drop us a line on all things football via 606 or the wonders of your mobile with a text to 81111.

    1110: Startling news in the world of football today involving Thierry Henry. One of the things he misses most about living and playing in England is eating bread and butter pudding. And you thought it was all protein shakes these days.



  • Barclays Premier League Table
    01 February 2010 22:00
        P GD PTS
    1 Chelsea 23 38 54
    2 Man Utd 24 36 53
    3 Arsenal 24 32 49
    4 Tottenham 24 20 42

    5 Liverpool 24 16 41

    6 Man City 22 14 41
    7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
    8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
    9 Everton 23 -1 32
    10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
    11 Fulham 23 -2 27
    12 Stoke 22 -7 26
    13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
    14 Wigan 22 -23 22
    15 West Ham 23 -9 21
    16 Bolton 22 -15 21
    17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

    18 Burnley 23 -23 20
    19 Hull 23 -26 20
    20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

    SEE ALSO
    Saturday's football photos
    29 Sep 07 |  Football


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